Hi there! Duolit is on hiatus, but please feel free to explore our extensive archive of posts and our free Weekend Book Marketing Makeover. Thanks for visiting!

Book Cover FAIL: Packing on the Pounds

This post is the first in a series about avoiding the paths that cause book cover failure.

Just like overeating will pack on the pounds, stuffing too much onto your book cover will lead to certain cover FAIL. Let’s explore this particular phenomenon and learn how to whip your cover back into shape (and it doesn’t even take a treadmill):

Book Cover FAIL No. 1 : Adding too much.

Or, as I like to call it: element overload. Our instinct, when creating, regardless of whether it is a book cover or a flyer, is to put in as many elements as possible. The thinking is that the more elements we add, the clearer our meaning.  In fact, the opposite is true. Don’t believe me? Take this case study as an example:Continue Reading

Book Cover FAIL: Achieving It and Avoiding It

I’m going to make a promise to you. Right here, right now. Are you ready? Good.

I will not, repeat — I will NOT mention the cliche “…judge a book by its cover” again in this whole, entire series. In fact, this is all I’d like to say on the subject of the covers and the judging: for right or for wrong, we do it. Period.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how to make your cover fail.

Fail? That’s right — I say fail because looking at a gallery of self-published titles, it seems that’s all I see. Cover fail after cover fail after cover fail. And I don’t just mean normal fail. I mean, FAILing. I’m breaking out the capitalization — that means things are getting real.Continue Reading

Fire your Book Designer! (or, 7 Steps To Make Your Self-Published Book Look Professional)

No, I’m just kidding. Please don’t fire your book designer (if you have one). They are amazing people who know exactly what to do to make your book belong on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. Surprisingly enough, however, they charge for this service. The audacity! [AN: That’s sarcasm, dear readers] As such, we understand it’s not feasible for every author to hire a pro. It’s okay!

While it would take  a year of blog posts to discuss every habit of highly effective book designers, the good news is that there are a few simple rules to keep in mind that will make a world of difference in how your book is perceived. This go-around, we’re focusing on body copy or interior layout design. That is, the “meat-and-potatoes” text in your book, where all the magic happens. Since this is where your readers are going to spend the vast majority of their time with your book, let’s be sure they’re not cursing the gods of printing when they do so.Continue Reading

Character-Centered Book Covers: Why So Few?

Unique, character-centered cover of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

Appropriate cover of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

First off, I’d just like to say that I was ridiculously excited to write this post. From the moment we conceived Character Cavalcade Week, I decided I was going to write a post on the 10 best book covers featuring characters. Right up my alley! Finding good design gives me a thrill, and I knew it was going to be an inspirational piece of cake.

Obviously, I wasn’t thinking about it too deeply because, if I had, I would have realized the futility of my effort.

I must have scrolled through thousands of book covers, searching Amazon, book design review sites, the AIGA, and Google Images, finally coming to an important conclusion:

Most book covers do not feature characters.

So, there went my post. Continue Reading

15 WordPress Tips & 5 Resources for Newbies

Skater doing a tip, representing these awesome WordPress tips and tricks for non-geeks and newbies.

Photo: Albany_Tim | Flickr

First thing’s first: if you’ve been working with WordPress for years, these tips aren’t for you and aren’t meant to be. As we’ve been using WordPress more and more to set up websites for clients, however, I thought it was important to bring to light a few tips, tricks, and ideas that most basic tutorials don’t cover. I’m in the process of creating an eBook, “The Easy (Really!) Guide To WordPress For Non-Geeks,” but hopefully this will help bridge the gap until it’s ready for the light of the web. Enjoy!

WordPress Tips for Non-Geeks

  1. Don’t copy and paste post/page content from Word or any other word processing program! Just trust me on this one, you’ll save yourself a lot of time fixing the way things look later. Take advantage of WordPress’ autosave feature.
  2. If you don’t want trash a post but instead just unpublish it so that it is not public, click on ‘Quick Edit’ under the post’s title in Posts > Edit and change its status to Draft.
  3. Make sure you have at least one backup plugin installed, or you’re not allowed to cry or curse out your web host when your site crashes and you lose everything. You’ll probably need two types of backup: one that backs up your database (where your posts, pages, comments, settings, etc. are stored) and one that backs up your local files (where your themes, plugins, and media are stored).
  4. If you use social networking services such as Facebook or Twitter, be sure to install a plugin to include their feeds in your sidebar as a widget. If you update these more often than your actual blog, this may give Google’s spiders a reason to keep coming to your website.
  5. Continue Reading